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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  RFTP (1)


rftp - reconstruct a mail-retrieved ftp file from the mail spool directory


Error Conditions
See Also
Bug Reports To


rftp -eV[-b | -f]


rftp reconstitutes files retrieved from ftp sources and (typically) compressed, uuencoded, and split into N parts.

The command, frftp -b issued anywhere from your account will initiate rftp as a daemon process that wakes up every N seconds (default is 900) and checks the mail spooler. If your ftp files have been received and if they can be processed to reconstruct whatever you requested from bitftp, (, then the file will be reconstructed and placed in a temporary directorry, $HOME/ftptmp.

-e      Checks your environment. If this information is incorrect, you need to check the header rftp.h. -V      Prints the current version.

The commmand rftp -f works similarly for files retrieved by ftpmail, (

rftp does a considerable amount of error checking in attempting to make sure that the files are reconstructed properly. It mails various error messages to whomever you designate (default is $USER), and in most cases, recovers and continues to attempt to reconstruct the mailed ftp file.


Mail will inform you of the following errors that will cause the daemon process to exit:

1. If the information file returned by the bitftp or ftpmail servers indicated an initial failure.

2. If a valid filename is not returned.

3. If the ftp host is not found.

4. If those files returned could not be successfully reconstructed into the ftp file requested. (Some parts of the file may have been missing.)

5. If the last-numbered part could not be determined.

6. If write permission to create the temporary files is not permitted.

7. If $HOME/ftptmp/ftpmail exists as unwritable by rftp. (In this instance, you should determine what the file is and remove it from the $HOME/ftptmp directory before running rftp again.)

8. If the environment variables HOME and USER are not set.

9. If permission is refused to create the $HOME/ftptmp directory.


For example, the following in the body of mail sent to

        FTP UUENCODE         USER anonymous         cd /pub/gnu         get tar-1.12.shar.gz         QUIT

will eventually result in your receiving 29 files: 28 uuencoded, split, and numbered files of ‘‘tar-1.12.shar.gz’’, and one file which details the processing by Saving 28 files in correct order, then uucat’ing, and uudecoding is not an extraordinary problem. But doing the same with 50 or more files can be a tedious undertaking, subject to error. rftp was written to eliminate the errors that are likely with the larger number of files send back.

This, send to

        FTP UUENCODE         USER anonymous         cd /pub/gnu         dir         QUIT

will return a complete list (‘‘ls -l’’) of the /pub/gnu directory of

In an analogous fashion, the following mail to

reply connect compress uuencode dir /pub/backup get backup-2.6beta.tar.Z quit

will result in 22 files being saved (in correct order), uucat’d, uudecoded, and finally stored as ‘‘backup-2.6beta.tar.Z’’


rftp presently only reconstructs two kinds of encoded and split files, and only ones that are uuencoded.

rftp leaves all mail untouched in the spool directory. When the reconstruction is complete, you can delete anything you wish to by hand.

Wide use of this tool, or one similar, should significantly reduce the number of ftp-mailed files being requested a second or third time.


uudecode(1), uucat(1)


Gary Kline

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